Reading has always been a big part of my life. Like many others I love escaping to new worlds, finding new characters and places to love. There’s no better feeling than connecting to a story and thinking about it every day until it’s finished and then still thinking about all the new friends that have been made for days or even weeks after. When I was younger I would devour the pages of every Jacqueline Wilson novel in existence. I found a fondness for The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson and Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.
As I got older, I explored new genres – thrillers, romance, fantasy novels and more classics. I loved them all, still do. When my studies became my main focus, I could still be found in the pages of my maxed out library books – whether it be reading the algorithms of political science or the successes and failures of American Presidents from past to present. My friends and family would laugh at the amount I would read for my course subjects, as my desk (and floor) would be covered in books.
Even though most of my time while studying revolved around political and historical books, I always found time for recreational reading. Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde and Charles Dickens took over my summer holidays. I spent many days laughing with Becky Bloomwood in the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella. I went on adventures with Hercule Poirot as I tried to uncover the mysterious murders in Agatha Christie’s novels and I had my heart broken by every Jodi Picoult book.
Three years ago, a lot of things in my world turned upside down. Well, everything did really. But reading definitely took a back burner for the first time in my life. I fell unwell to the point of being unable to read a single word or concentrate on anything for any period of time. A year and a half ago, I was finally diagnosed with a chronic illness and while it was a relief to know what was wrong with me, I still wasn’t able to read. Light sensitivity, nausea and difficulties concentrating due to extreme fatigue and pain prevented my passion.
I used to see so many people suffering with chronic illnesses finding their saviour in the written words on pages. I struggled to understand why I couldn’t also go on adventures too. The idea of escaping to a new world, one that was thrilling and all-consuming was all that I needed at a time where I couldn’t do anything at all. I bought books. How could I not? They always sound so good. However, for about two years, I barely read a single one. That was hard and uncommon for me. I live and breathe books. I always have. I think I always will.
Audiobooks have been my saviour over the past year. I was hesitant to try any when my husband first suggested them to me because holding a book has always been a part of my reading experience (Silly, I know). I started off with an easy rom-com as they had always been quick and easy reads for me in the past. I loved every second of it! I read two books in three consecutive days. I think I was scared that listening to a book would ruin the experience. However, audiobooks feel more like someone else is reading a story to me, like when I was younger, which is also kind of nice and nostalgic.
I have seen many comments online, saying audiobooks do not count as reading which is quite shocking when so many people struggle to read physical books. Any form of reading counts. Luckily I have a better handle on my situation now so I sometimes dive into physical books. But I am so lucky that I can finish a book when I am feeling unwell by switching over to the audiobook.
This past year, I have been consumed by reading like I had been when I was a child and I have enjoyed every minute of it. While this community does feel quite fast-paced with people reading hundreds of books in a single year, I’m trying to find my feet, while still pacing myself.
This year I have been engrossed by Donna Tartt’s physiological thriller, The Secret History, fallen in love with a fictional band known as Daisy Jones and The Six (by Taylor Jenkins Reid) and found a love for graphic novels – thanks to Heartstopper by Alice Oseman. What I have learned is there are always so many books to discover, in so many different ways. While my process of learning this was not an easy one, I am so glad that I have rediscovered my passion all over again.
Do you have a reading story? Let me know by commenting below or Tweet @bookwormgirl_24